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South African Medical Journal

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Two years of admissions to Natal's first inpatient child mental health centre

S.V. Moodley, A.L. Pillay

Abstract


The need for increased provision of mental health services for children has long been expressed. Equally, there is a shortage of training opportunities for mental health workers in this specialised field. The establishtnent of the first inpatient child mental health centre in Natal, together with clinical and demographic characteristics of the first 100 patients adtnitted to the unit, is discussed. Almost one-third of the children were diagnosed as having disruptive behaviour disorders, including conduct disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder. Parent-child problems were also very prevalent. While a variety of therapeutic modalities were employed, behavioural management formed the mainstay of the treatment programme. Recommendations for additional child mental health centres are made.




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